Wednesday, July 20, 2011


At this pond, you can often see many species of dragonfly. Today we saw few, but the snag trees were busy with birds, including hummers bossing everything around. Photo © Ray Callahan

A cloudy day, but an enjoyable, early morning trip to Glen Alton. Photo © Ray Callahan

Saturday morning (July 16th)at Glen Alton was cloudy and rather cool, relative to the hot weather of the last few days. It was cool enough that few insects were flying. Exceptions were bumblebees and they were everywhere even nectaring on plantain flowers.

Ray Callahan and I visited there to find dragonflies but found only two: a meadowhawk (Sympetrum) that was just emerging from the skin of its old nymph shell; and a female Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis). The Blue Dasher could barely fly because of the low temperature.

We did find a few species of damselfly:

Swamp Spreadwing (Lestes vigilax)
Aurora Damselfly (Chromagrion conditum)
Variable Dancer (Argia fumipennis)
Eastern Forktail (Ischnura verticalis)
Citrine Forktail (Ischnura hastata)

We saw only a few species of butterflies:

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas)
Northern Pearly-Eye (Enodia anthedon)
Common Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala)

Birds were easy to locate, we found 45 species. Highlights included watching a pair of flickers feeding their babies. The young ones would stretch their heads slightly out of the nest cavity (in a large dead pine) and a parent would put food inside their mouths. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were everywhere, saw twelve at least, probably a lot more. These were all crazy and feisty, diving at and chasing other birds from Scarlet Tanagers to Phoebes to warblers.

Glen Alton by the way is a great place for nature watching and discovery. It is located in Giles County. You can find five species of thrushes in nesting season: Eastern Bluebird, Veery, Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush, & American Robin. Also Brown Creepers and Red-breasted Nuthatches are known to nest there. There are also scads of singing Blackburnian Warblers.

Many species of dragonfly and damselfly can be found there during the summer. Just not this morning.

Glen Alton is a great place for an easy stroll. There are several ponds for fishing. I plan on posting more about the place later this summer and fall. Stay tuned.

Appropriately enough several Barn Swallows would sally back and forth from this old barn. There were likely nests inside. Photo © Ray Callahan

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